Cape Town - Author Jacques Pauw says he will defend the book, “All the President’s Keepers”, in court over a cease and desist letter he and his publisher received from the State Security Agency(SSA) and threats of legal action by Sars over a “breach of confidential taxpayer information”.
The book alleges that President Jacob Zuma, for the first four years of his presidency had not filed his tax returns to Sars and that he had also received R1 million monthly salary for several months in 2009 without declaring this to tax authorities.
In the book, it is claimed that SARS commissioner Tom Moyane was shielding Zuma from his tax obligations over the fringe benefits he had accrued when public money was used to renovate his private homestead at Nkandla.
Pauw’s book with the explosive claims was published on Sunday with an extract leading the Sunday Times.
But on Wednesday the SSA sent the letter to Pauw and his publisher NB Books, whose imprint Tafelberg published the book, stating that the contents was in violation of the Intelligence Service Act of 2002 because it contained an interview with former SSA spy Paul Engelke.
On Friday Sars said it was “deeply concerned” about the publication of taxpayer information, which it said was in contravention of the Tax Administration Act (TAA) of 2011.
Speaking to Independent Media on Friday, Pauw said before the book was published he and his publisher took extensive legal advice.
“I expected them (SSA and Sars) to react sooner, (instead) it took them five days,” said Pauw.
In the cease and desist letter sent by Kgoroeadira Mudau Inc, it was claimed that the book was “replete with inaccuracies” and contained “fake information”for which Pauw and his publisher would be held accountable.
But Pauw said he could only break the Intelligence Service Act if the information that he had published is true.
“Sars and SSA need to make up their minds,” said Pauw.
Instead he said it was quite clear that the SSA were “fast asleep”, taking action now when book was already in stores.
The cease and desist letter states that Engelke had disclosed classified information to Pauw without the permission of SSA director-general Arthur Fraser.
“We will argue that we are legally in possession of materials and we have not broken any laws,” said Pauw.
On Zuma’s tax affairs, and his comments in the National Assembly on Thursday, Pauw said: “It’s very interesting what he said, he hasn’t received any payments without declaring it.
“Up to 2014 Zuma has not declared his tax returns. It needs to be investigated, it’s not the first time that Zuma has lied in Parliament,” said Pauw.
But as stores wait to hear whether to pull the book off their shelves, they may not have many copies left as the book is reportedly sold out at many major online retailers.
A PDF version of the book, origin unknown at this time, has also been widely shared on social media.
On Friday Exclusive Books responded to claims that it has recalled Pauw's book, tweeting: "Reports that we have agreed to recall Jacques Pauw's new book, The President's Keepers, are untrue. We stand with the author & publisher."
Political Bureau and IOL